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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Bottling

I must be feeling pretty tired tonight (after a long working weekend), because the photos I'm most attracted to for today's post are of resting Harbor Seals (Phoca vitulina).  

Harbor seals often rest or sleep at the water's surface, floating in a vertical position with just their heads or faces above the water. This behavior is often referred to as "bottling" because of the resemblance to a floating bottle.  It's a total projection and assumption on my part, but seals often look serene in this position.  I am often tempted to participate in bottling behavior myself!


I like this last image in part because it relates to the scientific name, Phoca.  The explanatory passage below is from The Sierra Club Handbook of Seals and Sirenians:

"The generic name is from the Greek phōcē for "seal," a term said to be derived from the Sanskrit root sphâ, meaning "to swell up," referring to the animal's plumpness."

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